Passing the baton in oil spill research on the Gulf Coast
February 26, 2014 09:30 AM - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Media Relations Office
As part of on-going research nearly four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will team up with a group of high school students in Florida to collect remnants of oil from Gulf Coast beaches this week. Marine chemist Chris Reddy studies how the many compounds that compose petroleum hydrocarbon, or oil, behave and change over time after an oil spill. He and his researchers have collected and analyzed about 1,000 oil samples from the Gulf Coast since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Bats Combine Echolocation And Vision to Rule the Skies
February 26, 2014 08:54 AM - NoCamels Team, NoCamels
Blessed with the power of echolocation — reflected sound — bats rule the night skies. There are more than 1,000 species of these echolocating night creatures, compared with just 80 species of non-echolocating nocturnal birds. And while it is believed that echolocation works alongside normal vision to give bats an evolutionary edge, nobody knows exactly how. Now Doctor Arjan Boonman and Doctor Yossi Yovel of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology suggest that bats use regular vision to keep track of where they're going and echolocation to hunt tiny insects that most nocturnal predators can't see.
Limitations of climate engineering
February 25, 2014 12:59 PM - Jan Steffen, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Despite international agreements on climate protection and political declarations of intent, global greenhouse gas emissions have not decreased. On the contrary, they continue to increase. With a growing world population and significant industrialization in emerging markets such as India and China the emission trend reversal necessary to limit global warming seems to be unlikely. Therefore, large-scale methods to artificially slow down global warming are increasingly being discussed. They include proposals to fertilize the oceans, so that stimulated plankton can remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, or to reduce the Sun's incoming radiation with atmospheric aerosols or mirrors in space, so as to reduce climate warming. All of these approaches can be classified as "climate engineering". "However, the long-term consequences and side effects of these methods have not been adequately studied," says Dr. David Keller from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. Together with colleagues the expert in earth system modeling has compared several Climate Engineering methods using a computer model. The results of the study have now been published in the internationally renowned online journal Nature Communications.
Free mobile green apps
February 25, 2014 10:25 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Incorporating sound environmental decisions in our daily lives has been made easier with the availability of several green apps for the mobile device. Below is a list of five useful environmental apps that are free and feature discussions and motivators for carbon footprint identification and reduction, climate change, global forest cover, product scoring based upon environmental impact, and environmental actions all aimed at making better choices for sustainable living.
Increased Ocean Acidification Rate Puts Polar Ecosystems at Risk
February 25, 2014 08:06 AM - Claire Salisbury, MONGABAY.COM
An assessment of ocean acidification, presented at the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw in November 2013, starkly concluded that acidity is on track to rise 170 percent by the end of this century. As many key species are sensitive to changes in acidity, this would drastically impact ocean ecosystems, with effects especially pronounced in polar regions where the cold waters intensify acidification, and which is home to many organisms that are particularly vulnerable to acidification.
COLLEGIATE CORNER: Fossil Fuels vs. Renewable Resources
February 24, 2014 01:07 PM - Flavio Avalos, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School, Arlington, VA
Fossil fuels have been the main source of the energy all over the world. They increase the amount of CO2 emissions, and the emission of CO2 is a great cause of global warming in the atmosphere, destroying the atmospheric layers. What can we do to lower the demand of fossil fuels and become more eco friendly with renewable energy resources? The percent of US transportation sector consumption is 95.4% fossil fuels (Article 3), and this shows the reliance of the US on fossil fuels. As the Institute for Energy states, "Fossil Fuels make modern life possible" and that the only reason that our modern society works and the privileges we get are all due to the fact of fossil fuels (Article 3). Need I remind you: fossil fuels are limited and could go out?
Why did the toad cross the road?
February 24, 2014 09:24 AM - Megan Drake, Care2
Have you given any thoughts to toads lately? They may not be the first creature that comes to mind when considering animal advocacy. Indeed, the mating ritual of amphibians is not usually a concern because most toads manage to travel from their wooded habitats to a body of water for mating all by themselves and without human intervention.
February 23, 2014 08:41 AM - Piper Hoffman, Care2
When an elephant sees another in distress, he consoles him. He touches him to calm him down, using his "trunk to gently touch [his] face." He may also put his trunk in the distressed elephant's mouth, much like a chimpanzee will put a hand into a distressed compatriot's mouth. One author of the study that made this finding (which was published in Peer J on February 16, 2014), Dr. Frans de Waal, says elephants "get distressed when they see others in distress, reaching out to calm them down, not unlike the way chimpanzees or humans embrace someone who is upset." They also make a high-pitched chirping sound to comfort each other. Sometimes a whole group of elephants will surround and chirp to a distressed individual.
Manta Rays get needed protection in Indonesia
February 22, 2014 08:43 AM - Wildlife Conservation Society
The Government of Indonesia has taken a major step to protect the world's largest ray species, the giant and reef manta rays. Both are now considered protected species under Indonesian law, with fishing and trade prohibited. In 2013, the two species were included in the list of species regulated under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). In order to preserve these animals, all 178 CITES countries will have to implement laws and regulations to protect the rays, as well as certain species of sharks.
Report Finds 42,000 Turtles Harvested Each Year by Legal Fisheries
February 21, 2014 10:05 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Conservation awareness for sea turtles has made great progress recently, however the species are still under threat. Not only are hundreds of thousands of sea turtles killed each year from bycatch and illegal fishing but, in many coastal communities, sea turtles are considered a food source. Despite having spiritual or mythological importance, human populations consume both turtle eggs and meat. A new study conducted by Blue Ventures Conservation and staff at the University of Exeter's Centre for Ecology and Conservation has found that 42 countries or territories around the world still permit the harvest of marine turtles — and estimates that more than 42,000 turtles are caught each year by these fisheries.